LibriVox recording of The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was probably written between 1596 and 1598, and was printed with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623. Bassanio, an impoverished gentleman, uses the credit of his friend, the merchant Antonio, to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Antonio pledges to pay Shylock a pound of flesh if he defaults on the loan, which Bassanio will use to woo a rich heiress, Portia. A subplot concerns the elopement of Shylock's daughter Jessica with a Christian, Bassanio's friend Lorenzo. In its focus on love and marriage, the play shares certain concerns with Shakespeare's other comedies. Yet its depiction of the tensions between Jews and Christians in early modern Venice - and its highly dramatic trial scene in Act 4 - create darker currents in the play. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)
Duke of Venice: Filippo Gioachin
Prince of Morocco: Mark F. Smith
Prince of Arragon: David Nicol
Antonio: David O'Connell
Salarino: Laurie Anne Walden
Salanio: Rosalind Wills
Gratiano: David Leeson
Lorenzo: Aaron Elliott
Tubal: Carolyn Frances
Launcelot Gobbo: L. Lambert Lawson
Old Gobbo: David Lawrence
Leonardo: Laurie Anne Walden
Balthasar: David Lawrence
Stephano: Lucy Perry
Portia: Arielle Lipshaw
Nerissa: Megan Kunkel
Jessica: Elizabeth Klett
Clerk in court: Ernst Pattynama
Portia's servant: Joshua B. Christensen
Narrator: Dennis Sayers
Audio edited by: Elizabeth Klett
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A for effort; C for overall result. This piece is an honest effort, with the voice talent varying from 5 stars to 1.
Kudos to Elizabeth Klett as editor - the timing is great. Perhaps she has in mind to continue editing to replace certain performances over time? The better actors here deserve that if it is planned.
Special mention goes to the superb performance of Arielle Lipshaw (Portia), very well supported by Elizabeth Klett (Jessica) and etk (Shylock). In lesser roles, enjoyable performances by David Leeson (Gratiano), David Nicol (Prince of Arragon) and David Lawrence (Old Gobbo). Other performances range from adequate to the (too often) embarrasingly benthic (one AE young man self-conciously snickering into the mic as he haltingly hacked his lines).
May 15, 2010 Subject:
well done! thanks to the reader for taking gobs of precious time so we can just sit back and listen. bravo!